Get in touch with your inner child

I’d actually wanted to post about the fantastic weekend I had. Clean air, fly fishing, good company, Whiskey (of Irish and Scottish types), Red Wine, beer and the laughter of children.

A wonderful place to spend a weekend

A wonderful place to spend a weekend

What could be better.

I’ll write about that weekend in the next couple of posts, but something else has been nibbling at me.

What do we take joy in? It’s not a difficult question on the face of it, you can ask your best friend, enquire of the people you work with, ask your significant other. I’m willing to bet that each of them will have the same answer.

A simple response to a complex question; what makes us happy? I bet that everyone you know will respond with variations of the following, “the love of family and friends”, “being with the people I love”, “a couple of drinks with my mates”, “a night at home with my family’.

It doesn’t take (as my daughter of six says);  ‘a brain scientist’ to see a thread here.

Family and fun.

I stumbled on something last week which made me think. Let it be said that I hate chain letters, but sometimes, not often, but sometimes you open a mail and you pause.

A good friend sent me a copy of a mail that has been doing the rounds and it really grabbed my attention. It was a list written by a woman of 90 years old (I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now).

The wisdom of age, combined with a joy of a life well lived shone through.

I’m not going to go through each of the pointers that she gave, there were a lot of them and each made immediate, visceral sense.

But there was one which was resonated with me due to my experience on the latest fishing weekend.

During the course of one evening, after day at the dam one of my companions turned to me and  said “you’re such a child sometimes”.

Now the lady of whom I wrote earlier had,  as one of her pieces of advice this to say (and I paraphrase):

“You’re never too old to have a second childhood, you choose when the time is right”.

I’m 40 years old and I’m lucky to have two other immediate loves in my life (i.e. those who share Mallach World Headquarters in Johannesburg), a woman who is seven years younger than I,  and a daughter of six.

Both know that I suffer from what I like to call the Peter Pan Syndrome.

I strongy believe that J.M. Barry was right. You have to reach into yourself and find your inner child. If you have kids you owe it to the little ones. Most people lose it and become hard. I’ve seen it happen to those I love.

I believe that we can all take a moment to look around at our family and the world at large and see both beauty and harshness.

Choose your own path.

We all want the best for our kids.  Can you balance the economic needs of  your family with their emotional needs? To use the words of the people who write books on business, I believe that it’s an imperative . I’ve learned from my own experience growing up and trust me  it’s a none negotiable.

Although you may not feel it immediately, the dividends (again with the economists) pay off in the short, medium and (I hope) the long term.

Life is difficult, at times maddening, all the time challenging. Sometimes you feel anxious and afraid; we all do.

Don’t panic. What you’re feeling is part of the human condition. Winston Churchill used to call it the Black Dog. A horrible depression that chased him throughout his life.

That feeling of despair,  hopelessness and nagging insecurity  is something we all experience.

The last 20 year’s of my life have been filled with panic, dread and insecurity.

A wise man once told me; this to shall pass.

And he was right.

Reach into yourself, wake up to see another sunrise, lie down on the grass, roll over. Look at the clouds. Have fun. Poke fun at your friends (at all times gently), kiss, roll in the grass, jump in the pool, throw a water balloon, look for lizards, pick up a frog, revel in the sunlight. Run in the rain.

If your family are not too old, grab them and pull them down, roll on the lawn, get the dogs to roll around with you. If there are kids, squirt them with water (buy cheap water pistols, the most fun things in the world), turn on the sprinklers. But the kids need to have water balloons and the dogs need to have kids.

And this is the best advice that I can give you…

Laugh at yourself. Be a child.

Difficult I know, but try, you’ll be surprised at the rewards of visiting that island where Captain Hook, Tinkerbell and Peter Pan play catch up for eternity.

Remember what Hook hears all the time. Tick Tock, Tick Tock, time is fleeting.

Another wise man said to me, “in all you do have fun”.

Sometimes difficult, always possible.

The crocodile of time of time is lurking in the waters of your life. This is not a dress rehearsal.

Reading what I’ve just written I realise it’s all over the place, sorry. There doesn’t seem to be a thread that  runs through it. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow.

This is a blog, just my thoughts. I’ll be more journalistic next time.

Have fun.

PS: I cannot emphasise more, waterpistols are good. Adults shake their heads, but they want to take part. Encourage your children to soak them, they love it.

PPS: If the adults don’t like it then they haven’t had enough red wine.

PPPS: If they still don’t like it then fuck them.

PPPPS: Invite me over and give me a water pistol. I’ll fly over there,  just like Peter Pan.

If they don’t, then maybe I can recommend some reading matrial for them. JM Barry might have some pointers for all of us.

If not, then we should all gather over the nearest bridge and play Pooh Sticks. I bet you that my stick beats yours on the trip down the river. It’s all about the drop and the laughs.

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The amazing ego shrinking Hubble telescope

Many of us remember that iconic poster of the early 90’s where our galactic neighbourhood was rendered in vibrant colour and an arrow pointed to our neck of the cosmic woods.

I can see your house from here

I can see your house from here

It was humbling and made us question our significance in the wider scheme of things.

But take a look at this. It’s the stuff of dreams, or nightmares if you’ve got an over inflated ego.

It almost moved me to tears.

The curiosity of mankind will either be its salvation or its downfall. To paraphrase the late Douglas Adams; we’re the only species (that we know of) that will willingly stick a finger into the universal plug socket just to see what happens.

In this case we discover scenes of previously unimaginable and humbling beauty.

As a thinking (in most cases) species we should be aware that we are custodians of a small, perhaps insignificant planet.

But always remember it’s all we’ve got, it’s home and it floats in a vast void that we are only just starting to learn about.

(Hat tip to Julie, my favourite tree hugger).

When next you sit with family or friends raise a glass to the wonder of the universe and the coming years of discovery.

Water or lights, take your choice.

A good friend phoned me tonight and posed the question, which would you rather have; electricity or running water?

It’s a choice that none of us want to make.

In the past weeks we’ve had our water shut off on a number of occasions for 8 hours at a time while maintenance was done on the pipes. Over the last year our electricity has been shut off for hours at a time while South Africa’s electricity provider; Eskom, deals with an ageing network and cable thieves.

I point fingers at no one. These are just the the burdens we have to deal with in order to enjoy the lifestyle we have in South Africa.

Back to the idea of water vs. electricity.

Water is the stuff that we need to keep upright, without it we die within 12 days (I’m being generous). I used to think that I’d rather have a working tap than a working light bulb. We can always use gas lights to play the odd game of Scrabble. Perhaps we could learn from our Grandparents and listen to the radio (battery powered) and stop spending our lives in front of the tube.

I’m a bit conflicted, if I don’t shower in the morning I’m a wreck.

But I’m also an information junkie.

Without my access to the websites of NBC, ABC, BBC, CNN, FOX (amongst others, too many to mention), I wouldn’t be able to argue. Without access to information my mind would curl up into the foetal position and die.

I was reading Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything” for the fourth time and he described the stars that could be seen in both hemisphere’s; and I thought that maybe the argument about water and electricity was just silly, we should thank whatever benevolent diety that we call God that we’re here at all.

In the first world we’re lucky to have running water, a drink out of a tap on a hot day is one of the greatest gifts that we could ever have. Light at the flick of a switch, warm food, pizza and burgers.

These are all things that make our lives better.

But imagine, if we turned all the lights off, if the cities of the world just stopped shining for one night. Not forever, but for one night a month?

We could show our children the beauty of the night sky, stars and dreams of flying angels, of aliens, of war and peace and tall trees on other planets.

A vast splash of stars across the skies, a spilled twinkle of light, a bright milky spill of universal splendour.

“Look Dad, Venus, Mars, the Man on the Moon.”

“Yes my darling, all for you.”

Maybe we should shut down the grid at least once a month.

Just saying.

For the kids.

And me.

look up, it’s wonderful.

PS: Have a glass of water, it’s on me.